UK unveils six-month plan to pay half of energy bills for businesses

Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss announced a new scheme on Wednesday (September 21) to support businesses with their energy bills and help them “get through the winter.” 

As per the new plan, the businesses will receive an emergency package that includes a cap aimed at a significant reduction of the price paid for energy from October 1. Truss said the scheme would be reviewed after six months. 

Truss added, “We’ll make sure that the most vulnerable businesses, like pubs, like shops continue to be supported after that.” 

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This six-month plan, aimed at addressing the soaring cost of living, comes ahead of a mini-budget on Friday when Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to unveil tax cuts. 

In a statement, the government said that the wholesale electricity and gas prices for businesses as well as charities, hospitals and schools will be capped at half the expected cost on the open market. 

Kwarteng said Wednesday, “We have stepped in to stop businesses collapsing, protect jobs and limit inflation.” 

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On September 6, Truss took office after winning an election of Conservative party members. Just two days after that, Queen Elizabeth II passed away. The nation entered a period of mourning, which ended with the late monarch’s state funeral on September 19. 

Now, the government is expected to take decisions to help a nation struggling with decades-high inflation. The exchequer’s budget will seek to boost economic growth amid forecasts that Britain will this year sink into recession on sky-high energy bills fuelled by the invasion of Ukraine by major oil and gas producer Russia. 

Media reports suggest that the government will also scrap an EU limit on bankers’ bonuses following Brexit. The newly elected prime minister is committed to scrapping planned tax hikes on both company profits and salaries that predecessor Boris Johnson had signed off. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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